Posted: May 4, 2013 1:28 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: May 4, 2013 1:30 PM
HELENA - The Commissioner of Political Practices serves as the chief enforcement officer of Montana's campaign and election laws.
For the past few years the office has been a hotbed of political controversy.
MT Sen. Jeff Essmann (R-Billings) said, "Due to some of the politicalization that has occurred in that office, or allegations of that, it's cast a cloud on that office and I think it's important that going forward that there is no cloud."
Now that Jim Murry has resigned from the job, legislative leaders have recommended five people who could replace him.
Legislators unanimously agreed upon one name to send to Governor Steve Bullock, and that's Ellen Bush.
She is a former journalist and believes she can do the job without political bias.
The other four names sent to the Governor did not receive unanimous consensus.
Dan Ritter received three votes; he is a real estate agent from the Flathead and the Sergeant at Arms in the Senate.
Colleen Urqhart Filner received two votes from the Republican members on the committee; she previously worked for former Governor Marc Racicot.
Helena attorney Jonathan Motl received two votes from the Democrats; he has experience in campaign finance, ballot issues, and election litigation.
Robert Hoffman got one vote; he is a former investigator at the Commissioner's office.
MT Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte) noted, "I don't think that any of the five candidates are bias-free. I am willing to accept all of their biases because I trust each and every one of them."
Despite concerns about the political leanings of some of the candidates, all five names will now be sent to Bullock who can either appoint someone from the list or choose someone else.
The Commissioner is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
The job is a 6-year term and pays about $58,000 a year.